Regardless if you played Pokemon Go or not, you definitely have heard of it.
That’s because it was a global sensation and the first of its kind.
Pokemon Go combined the popular Pokemon cartoon series with an AR (augmented reality) game, where users could collect Pokemon by physically walking around, catching them, battling them, and many other cool game mechanics. Many view Pokemon Go as a world first in popularising AR games. A collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo, Pokemon Go was launched in 2016 and has been downloaded more than 1 billion times worldwide. Since Pokemon Go, the world has caught on to the huge potential of AR experiences and several other AR games have been released, including Ingress and Jurassic World Alive.
Well, now there is a new kid on the block - Harry Potter Wizards Unite (or Unite for short). Unite is made by the same company and uses the same game engine, so the gameplay will be familiar to many.
You are a wizard trying to catch magical artefacts that have mysteriously appeared in the Muggle world. Your role as a new recruit to the Statute of Secrecy Task Force is to catch and return these pieces of magic to the wizarding world and keep them from Muggle eyes.
There are many cool elements to the game, including being able to choose your own wand, brew potions, and solve an intriguing narrative. What is really cool about Unite (aside from the fact that it’s HP themed, of course!!) is that it has taken the AR gameplay to a new level. This is their Portkey feature, where users must literally step onto the location where the Portkey is unlocked.
Unite has been released in beta form in Australia and New Zealand and will hit the US in coming weeks.
While Unite and Pokemon Go sit squarely in the game category and are not gamification, they do prompt real-world behaviours such as walking and even interacting with other players. And more importantly, they demonstrate the growing acceptance and normalisation of game mechanics in real life.